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Maximising the Apprenticeship Levy: The Case for Leadership and Organisational Culture in 2019

September 25, 2018

“In 2017, UK businesses spent £6.3bn on higher salaries, recruitment fees
and temporary staff to combat a shortage of required skills.”

 

As we move into Autumn, it is an ideal time to reflect on the year to date and consider just a few important points. With surveys over the past four years consistently reporting that a staggering "82 percent of managers and executives are seen as lacking in leadership skills by their employees", we must question the current state of leadership both within our own organisation and in UK business as a whole.

 

According to a recent Forbes article, the questions we should be asking our leaders and managers today centre around understanding our organisation’s true culture – not simply the ‘idealised’ one we hope it might be, but what really occurs in practice.

 

 “Good managers contribute 48% more profit to their
companies than less effective managers do.”
- Gallup, 2015.

 

The lack of strong, agile and innovative leadership over the past decade has meant that Leadership is too often viewed as a ‘Top-down’ approach, reserved for those in the most senior positions. Whilst it is true that senior leadership plays a fundamental part in dictating organisational culture, it doesn't just end there.

 

Life changes swiftly, and businesses must keep up if they are to ensure survival and their chance of future success. New generations of workers are no longer willing to accept a restrictive working environment, favouring collaboration, openness, a sense of purpose and the freedom to think, question and make a difference - not to simply ‘follow the line’.

 

Today’s leaders are required to be agile and responsive to effectively manage and support their teams through change using new and smarter ways of working. 

 

Our learners, undertaking the new Leadership Apprenticeship Training Programmes, have begun to ‘ask the right questions’, recognising a need for the organisational culture to markedly change with strong leadership required at all levels.

 

"While 96% of managers considered their relationship with
their team very good or good, only 64% of employees felt the same."

 

 

 

The Plague of Self-Deception in Leadership 

What is becoming increasingly known as the ‘accidental, reluctant and untrained manager' - whereby technically proficient employees are rewarded with promotion to management positions with no real understanding of what their new role entails – is posing a real danger to UK business, both now and in the future.

 

Indeed, many untrained managers have had to ‘make do’ with behaving in line with what their 'perception' of being a manager is - heavily influenced by their perception of how other managers act - and therefore unable to consider fundamental Leadership qualities that create the distinction between being technically great and technically, being a great leader.

 

– Think the Gareth Southgates in your teams; not the Wayne Rooneys.

“Executives must identify those who, while not at the top of the skills ladder, show an interest in management and exhibit important management qualities like adaptability and empathy.”

 

Self-perception - or deception - of management capability has enormous implications not only on the immediate team but on all employees’ perception of the organisation (and its culture) as a whole. In particular, the notion that if you are technically good at your job, you will be promoted to management, and however you manage your team is down to you, not prescribed by a strong company culture.

 

What’s more, the longer some of these managers hold their positions without training, the more ‘experienced’ they feel and the less inclined they are to seek real and continuous development. The ‘Earned Dogmatism Effect- being the ultimate barrier - states that “self-perceptions of high expertise, when activated by various situational cues, make us feel normatively entitled to be more closed-minded and dogmatic.” And so, the only way to avoid this is through continuous learning, self-awareness and reflection, and recognising that the expertise you held 5 or 10 years ago may not be as relevant today. 

 

To put it simply;

“What we have done in the past is definitely, definitely, definitely
not good enough for the future”
Dr. Ian Robertson, BMW

 

 ‘Build - Not Buy’ - The Development Opportunity

“hiring the wrong external candidate now costs in the region of £17,000”

 

If most HR managers and business leaders would agree that “longer employee tenures equate to lower costs and higher productivity”, and many organisations cite retaining top talent as not just one of their biggest challenges, but also one of their highest priorities”, why do businesses continue to ‘buy’ and not ‘build’?

 

The Apprenticeship Levy is an unprecedented opportunity for organisations to increase investment in developing existing employees through an Apprenticeship that suits both the individual and the business.

 

The Levy is part of a longer-term initiative to increase UK plc by ensuring that selected, high-quality training providers are working together with employers not just to provide, but to embed new knowledge, skills and behaviours specific to the learner’s role over time.

 

Companies that have a highly engaged workforce outperform peer organisations by 147% in earning’s share

 

For the past 15 years, worldwide employee engagement has rarely increased from a minimal 13% in 2003. The vast majority (67%) of employees are simply ‘not engaged’, or are ambivalent, about their role and their organisation. These employees do not make for good leaders or managers as their influence will undoubtedly spread to others, further negatively impacting the organisation.

 

One of the main influences (or variants) on Employee Engagement comes directly from managers themselves; poor managers create a breeding ground for  disengagement. “50% of employees leave their jobs at some point because their leaders are so bad that they’re literally ruining their lives.No manager should be permitted to have such an impact on their team members, yet it's become such an issue that it affects around half of all employees. 

 

Only by considering such points now can we ensure that we make 2018 a ‘great’ – even pivotal – year for our own organisations and UK plc as a whole. With the uncertainty of Brexit looming closer, businesses must begin planning for the future by developing strong succession planning and training managers at all levels to address the skills gap that is affecting workforce productivity and performance.

 

Don’t just take our word for it; In a recent survey of 24,500 UK HR Managers, only 6% of respondents felt ‘highly prepared’ for a no-deal Brexit, whilst “85% thought it would hamper their ability to recruit the best talent”. With just six months remaining until Brexit's supposed deadline, now is the time to take action and utilise the Apprenticeship Levy to restore some stability and rejuvenate the workforce with leaders to make change happen!

 

Speak to us today to find out more about how you can maximise
the Apprenticeship Levy and ensure the best outcomes for your

organisation through developing leaders at all levels.

 

Compiled by Ione Asher 25/09/2018

ione@squaremileleadership.co.uk

 

 

 

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